On this day, 37 years ago, our family arrived in Cape Coral, Florida on a dream and a prayer. The dream was to fulfill a calling that had started more than a decade before. The dream was to start and build a church whose mission was to lead people to Jesus Christ and help them discover who God created them to be. The dream was targeted toward reaching young unchurched families through using contemporary worship, relevant down-to-earth messages in welcoming and engaging, age-appropriate environments.
Our prayer on this day nearly four decades ago was from Ephesians 3:14-21: 14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
A dream and a prayer. Both have been critically important to the successes of the last 37 years. And, we have lived long enough to learn that dreams take time and dreams take work. We totally understand that it’s complex, challenging and requires large doses of grit to see a dream come true. But that is where the second and more important half of the equation comes in. An ongoing daily prayer of humble awareness that a dream is lived out in the power of God’s strength, His love, and His fullness. And we are most grateful that He has done immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine.
We are so blessed. Thirty-seven years later, our young children have young children of their own. Cape Christian is now led by extraordinary leaders that were young children or only a dream of their parents when the church was launched. We now have six services every weekend that gather over four thousand people from across Southwest Florida to worship and grow in their love of God and love of people. The fourteen-acre campus is open 365 days a year as a place the families of our community can gather in the park to play together and connect with each other. And the best part: every week, we hear powerful stories of life transformation, family restorations, acts of service for our community, and generosity of time, talent and treasure for the world.
The dream is still alive. There are still future dreams and prayers in the hearts of the young leaders. The potential is bright. A larger worship center to serve our growing community. More campuses in surrounding cities. Greater generosity to bless others as we have been blessed. The dream of God is still being revealed and lived out.
Thank you for your prayers. As they were needed decades ago, they are still needed today. And tomorrow. We appreciate all of those who have partnered with us in prayer and in rolling up your sleeves to help us live out the dream over the last several decades. While my wife Linda and I embodied and led the dream into reality, we certainly didn’t do it alone. With the help of so many of you and with the strength, wisdom and power of God, we are living out a God-given dream. We are grateful and blessed.